Poll: Most Rust Belt Voters Say Capitalism Better for Country Than Socialism

September 20, 2020 Updated: September 22, 2020

A majority of voters in the region known as the Rust Belt say capitalism is a better system than socialism for the future of the United States, according to The Epoch Times’ Rust Belt Poll.

More than 51 percent of those who responded to the poll believe capitalism is preferable, while just over 21 percent favor socialism.

The poll, conducted by Big Data Poll from Sept. 11 to Sept. 15, 2020, interviewed 2,191 registered voters and 1,440 likely voters in the Midwest via online panel that focused on Iowa (7 percent), Michigan (20 percent), Minnesota (12 percent), Ohio (23 percent), Pennsylvania (26 percent), and Wisconsin (12 percent).

The sampling error is plus or minus 2.1 percentage points for registered voters and plus or minus 2.6 points for likely voters at a 95 percent confidence interval.

The Rust Belt, the group of U.S. states that were once dominated by manufacturing, is likely to play a critical role in determining the outcome of the 2020 election, experts say.

Older voters—those over 65 years old, were more likely to indicate a preference for capitalism, with 74 percent of that demographic in agreement. By contrast, roughly 9 percent of voters over the age of 65 said socialism is better for the country.

Among younger voters—between 18 and 29, a plurality (more than 43 percent) voiced a preference for capitalism. Meanwhile, more than 30 percent of voters in this bracket have a positive view of socialism. This age group also had the highest number of those saying they are unsure, at over 26 percent.

There was a clear difference along party lines.

A majority of Republicans, more than 77 percent, said they prefer capitalism, while about 46 percent of Democrats agreed. Meanwhile, more than 30 percent of Democrats are more positive about socialism, compared to just over 11 percent of Republicans.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly spoken out against socialism and communism throughout his years in office, making it a key part of his agenda. At last year’s State of the Union speech, he said that “America will never be a socialist country.”

Trump has also criticized Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on that front, calling him “a Trojan horse for socialism” during an August speech in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

“He’s a Trojan horse. He has no clue, but the people around him are tough, and they’re smart,” Trump said.

Biden appears to have rejected the socialist label. In an August rebuttal to Trump’s GOP convention address, he said, “You know me. You know my heart, and you know my story, my family’s story. Ask yourself: Do I look to you like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?”

For more information on the methodology and survey design, please refer to the AAPOR Transparency Initiative Checklist, for an overview of survey results click here.

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